China Urges New Nuclear Talks With North Korea

China Urges New Nuclear Talks With North KoreaChina Urges New Nuclear Talks With North Korea

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday that six-party talks were still the best way to address North Korea’s nuclear issue.

He made the comments at an event to mark a decade since all sides–China, the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea–agreed to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Earlier this week, Pyongyang announced it planned to fire a fourth long-range rocket into space and was seeking to upgrade its nuclear arsenal. It carried out similar tests in 2006, 2012 and 2013, DW reported.

Addressing scholars and Chinese officials in Beijing, Wang said, “It is urgent for all the parties involved to reactivate the (2005) joint statement and make joint efforts to create conditions, reach consensus and pave the way for the resumption of six-party talks.”

Under the joint statement, which was signed 10 years ago, North Korea agreed to suspend its nuclear program after Washington assured its leaders that the country would not be attacked.

But within a year, the plan failed when Pyongyang carried out its first nuclear weapon test.

“We call on all sides to adopt a responsible attitude toward the peninsula as well as the region of northeast Asia, and never again take any new action that could lead to tensions,” he told the academic forum.

The last round of talks collapsed in 2008, when North Korea refused to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities. Several attempts to restart talks have failed.

South Korea recently conducted military exercises and restarted propaganda broadcasts at the border, which led to threats of all-out war from the North. The tests were quickly stopped after 11th-hour bilateral talks.

China is Pyongyang’s closest ally and is believed to have the biggest leverage over getting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s officials back to the negotiating table.But most analysts agree that a fourth missile test will result in a souring of ties with Beijing.

“Relations between the two parties and people will be greatly harmed if North Korea insists on acting while being clearly aware of China’s stance,” said Lu Chao, an expert on East Asian affairs, adding that it would leave Pyongyang “even more isolated on the international stage.”